Mapping the field: location-based and mobile heritage in the Netherlands and beyond

Maarten Brinkerink, Wietske van den Heuvel & David van Toor – Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision


Within the context of the Images for the Future project the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision is exploring potential of mobile and location-based access to digital heritage. The goal is to explore how digital heritage can be combined with mobile technology and location awareness to offer an augmented reality (AR) to different types of end users. In this context AR functions by augmenting the physical reality of end users with contextual information using digital means.

At the moment, Sound and Vision is developing an iPhone application, in close collaboration with the Dutch National Memorial and Liberation Committee. This application will augment a selection of 200 war monuments in the Netherlands with relevant audiovisual information, with the use of location aware mobile technology.

Below you will find the current state of a desk research mapping the current state of local and mobile heritage in the Netherlands (and beyond):

Location-based and mobile heritage initiatives

Dutch map applications


Knowledge, Infrastructure and Cultural History, in short KICH, is an organisation whose aim is to make cultural historical information accessible by using map applications. KICH collaborates with, among others, The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage.


Mapit1418 is a project within the scope of Images for the Future. Mapit1418 is based on an interactive map of The Netherlands on which users are able to link First World War images of unknown origin. The application is an initiative by the Nationaal Archief, using geodata to crowdsource images through a mashup of OpenStreetMap and Flickr.


WatWasWaar is an application providing detailed and diverse historical information about all kinds of Dutch places. Moreover, it grants the user direct access to a great number of city bound heritage organizations.

Map applications initiated by Dutch newspapers / /

A location platform powered by Ilse Media, including a mobile application.

Trouw in de buurt (Trouw in the neighbourhood)

An initiative by Dutch newspaper Trouw, constituting information about heritage by using Google Maps.

We The People

We The People provides a way of creating a collaborative photo album. Through the use of Google Maps users are able to link their images to specific locations in Europe.

International map applications

Save Our Sounds

Save Our Sounds is a project initiated by the BBC to literally save sounds for future generations. With the use of crowdsourcing, users are able to upload (environmental) sounds. These sounds are subsequently linked to a digital map of the world. The BBC partly uses their own archives for providing sounds.


TagMaps is a toolkit to visualize text, or better tags, geographically on a map. TagMaps can be used to communicate key characteristics of location-based data in an easy-to-understand way.

Dutch mobile applications


The canon-layer is an augmented reality (AR) based application providing real-time information on canonic locations in the Netherlands. The application is linked to the digital map and is implemented by Muzar.

Nieuwe Groeten (New greetings)

Financed by Bankgiro Lottery, Nieuwe Groeten is a crowdsourcing project, with the aim to collect location-based photos. The project is a collaboration between the FOAM museum of photography and the ANP Historical Photo Archives.

QR code op monument (QR codes on monuments)

Due to the 65th anniversary of the Utrecht Monument Fund, the foundation decided to tag all the monuments in the city of Utrecht (NL) with QR codes. The QR codes are linked to the mobile website of the Utrecht Monument Fund, providing background information and additional information regarding the monuments. The implementation is executed by software company OneShoe.

International mobile applications


Audioboo is an application for recording and sharing audiotracks and samples. The application allows the user to create up to 5 minutes of audio and post it to their Audioboo account on the web. The audio can be provided with titles, tags, geolocation info and a photo. Furthermore it can be shared through several social networks.

A project concerning mobile tourism and AR, which was recently finalized. The application shows context aware overlays of historical architecture and interiors. It enables affordable AR for cultural heritage compared to expensive three-dimensional reconstructions.

iTACITUS 20 years fall of the Berlin Wall
Just like in iTACITUS EU this application displays historic photos, but now covering today’s view of Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag. In addition the urban development of Berlin and the wall are presented on a satellite image of Berlin.

Sound Around You
A sound map of the world build by the University of Stanford (UK). The project is a part of a new study on how the sounds of everyday environments influence the ways in which this environment is perceived. Through the use of mobile phones or other audio recording devices, users can record and upload environmental sounds.

The ZoneTag application makes it possible to automatically upload photos to Flickr and to automatically tag them. The application is accessible through the use of smartphones.


Zurfer is a mobile browser connected to Flickr based on sharing and showing Flickr photos among Zurfer-users in the same area.

Relevant initiatives (March 2010)

Together with Fabrique, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam will develop an open source platform with an implementation of AR to innovatively present and share stories about collections with the public. Moreover, the public platform will actively engage with its users to stimulate them to contribute their own stories, photographs and information. The platform will run on smartphones.

Augmented Reality application for ‘Stad van Nederland’ (‘City of Holland’)

The Dutch Institute of Architecture (NAi) started the development of a mobile AR application for ‘Stad van Nederland’, the new permanent exhibit of the institute. It is realized in tight collaboration with Layar and IN10 Communication. With this application, the user is able to enhance buildings with digital information, like photos, videos, three-dimensional models and the likes.

Cultureel Erfgoed en Locatie (Cultural Heritage and Location)
A research project set up to gain insights on the use of location-based web services with a three-year running time, in favour of reaching a greater audience for (digital) cultural heritage. The STAP foundation is taking the lead in the program, drawing on a subsidy within the scope of Dutch governmental ICT-investment program ICT-Impuls.

CLOSER is a multidisciplinary research project, initiated by V2_ and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. CLOSER aims to design new ways of experiencing audiovisual databases. These new concepts will employ technologies that are already developed by V2 and Sound and Vision as well as insights from the disciplines AR, semantic web, human-computer interaction (HCI) and webdesign.


Dutch Institute of Architecture

The Dutch Institute of Architecture (NAi) is more than just a museum. It is an archive, library and cultural stage combined. The NAi aims at creating easy access for the public to important archives and collections of Dutch architects. These archives and collections have been collected since the 18th century.

Stedelijk Museum
The Stedelijk Museum is initiator of the ARtours program and based at the Museumplein in Amsterdam. It was built in 1895 and is currently under going major restoration. In the meanwhile, behind the scenes, the staff is working on the refurnishing of the museum, its shop and restaurant. 90,000 art works are being moved to a brand new depot and the collection itself will be restored. Publications and a new website are also in the pipeline, so that the Stedelijk will soon, once again, be the place to see classic modern and contemporary art: a platform for deeper understanding, exciting new ideas, events and encounters.

The STAP foundation was founded in 1998 in order to manage collaborative heritage projects with a technological aspect, aiming for a public audience. They are involved in projects like WatWasWaar and lead the upcoming Cultural Heritage and Location program.
The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage
The Netherlands Institute for Cultural Heritage is the knowledge institute regarding archaeology, monuments and the Dutch cultural environment. The institute offers geo-data on National monuments, available through the following link:

V2_ Institute for the Unstable Media is an interdisciplinary center for art and media technology in Rotterdam and initiator of the CLOSER project. V2_’s activities include organizing presentations, exhibitions and workshops, research and development of artworks in its own media lab, publishing in the field of art and media technology, and developing an online archive.

Waag Society
The Waag Society develops creative technology for social innovation. Next to performing research they are actively involved in developing concepts, pilots and prototypes. The Waag Society operates as a mediator between the arts, science and the media, creating fruitful collaborations between cultural, public and private parties.
In the past, Waag Society used to be actively engaged in creating mobile ‘in-reality’ games. Waag Society is involved in Cultural Heritage and Location, together with STAP.


Upcoming events

ICT Delta conference

Den Haag

Discussion table: Augmented Reality
V2_ and the Insitute of Sound and Vision teamed up to assign a multidisciplinary group of students to create innovative concepts regarding the experience of audiovisual archives. In this case AR technologies are key to the creation of these concepts. Everyone is welcome to join the discussion table and to exchange ideas about the concepts proposed by the students.

Geocaching events
Various upcoming cache events in the Benelux.

Past events

Faro seminar

A seminar on heritage and geodata.
Tijdmachine (time machine)
An AR-project with a focus on interactive narration. The prototype of Tijdmachine is a telescope with AR software, which is placed on a public square in Rotterdam. The user looks through the telescope and travels through different times. With Tijdmachine the user discovers the immortality of Rotterdam’s soul. The user can interact with stories which at that time took place in the same environment.

Urban Explorers Festival

Urban Explorers Festival is a festival taking place in Dordrecht (NL). Besides bringing a cheerful musical program, it is a journey through the city during the festival based on the use of QR codes and videos.


International and independent developer of mobile AR applications.

Artcast is an easy and accessible platform for audio and video tours in museums. Furthermore they are specialized in advertising, vodcasting and podcasting and able to provide solutions for the realization of ideas and projects.


Developers of interactive media and 3D Studio productions. DPI realised the implementation of the Eneco AR application among others.

Fabrique is a multidisciplinary communication and design agency. More than 85 artists, engineers and storytellers on a wide variety of assignments for consumer brands, service-sector companies, the government, education, the entertainment industry and cultural institutions.

Finalist IT Group provides IT services regarding consultancy, projects and application management. They are specialized in the usage of open source and open standards.

GeoStart is concerned with providing geographical web and mobile solutions. They also provide mobile solutions for the iPhone.
Ice Mobile
Ice Mobile creates and executes innovative mobile marketing and advertising campaigns for the world’s largest brands and advertisers.


In10 is an interactive company specialized in branding and communication. They are also the developers of the upcoming AR application for the Dutch Institute of Architecture (NAi).

M2Mobi is a developer of mobile services. They are known for the development of projects like and

Moop Mobility
Moop Mobility is specialized in developing mobile travel assistants and route planners.

Muzar is a Dutch layer developer, also known for the implementation of mobile websites and QR-codes.

One Shoe

One Shoe is a Dutch mobile web developer. They are specialized in implementing QR codes and Layar based applications.


International and independent developer of mobile AR applications.

Q42 is company run by programming experts. They link technical solutions to the control and experience of web applications.

The Saints
The Saints is in mobile software development and has created several leading and unique products and services for its clients. Development is done on all mobile software platforms (iPhone, Java, Android, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry) and is always focused on creating mobile relevance.

Toolkits and Platforms

The ARToolkit is a fundamental building block for creating AR applications. Shortly after its inception, it was ported to Flash in the form of the FLARToolkit, making it exponentially easier for Flash developers to create their own AR experiences. In 2010, the ARToolkit has once again been ported, this time to Microsoft’s Silverlight platform, allowign AR applications to run in Silverlight.

QR-code reader and generator for the iPhone.


A webservice to easily configure AR layers.


Cyclopedia uses the iPhone camera, a compass and GPS together to create an AR environment of the world by overlaying Wikipedia information on the viewfinder.
DBPedia Mobile

DBpedia Mobile is a location-centric DBpedia client application for mobile devices consisting of a map view, the Marbles Linked Data Browser and a GPS-enabled launcher application.


AR browser for the iPhone and Google Android.
An effort to add a spatial dimension to the Web of Data / Semantic Web. LinkedGeoData uses the information collected by the OpenStreetMap project and makes it available as an RDF knowledge base, according to the Linked Data principles. It interlinks this data with other knowledge bases in the so-called “Linked Open Data Cloud”.

Locast is a flexible and cutting-edge location-based platform that combines distributed web and mobile applications that create hyperlocal and highly-connected experiences. Locast superimposes layers of collectively generated information within the physical space in real-time.


Mscape is a developing platform for location-based immersive media experiences known as mediascapes.


A Bing Local Search driven AR browser for the iPhone, focused on finding businesses and restaurants. is a webservice for mobile AR users and shapers, empowered with a powerful tool to embed unique points of interest (POI) and location-specific, hyperlinked media content which can be viewed on the Wikitude World Browser.

Wikitude World Browser

The Wikitude World Browser is an AR browser based on Wikipedia information en location-based user generation content.


Augmented Reality of the Transept in Cluny, France
An example of a movable AR screen in front of a church in France. This screen shows a projection of what the church would have looked like if it wasn’t torn down years ago.

AR and object-recognition

An AR application based on the object-recognition technique. This is an example of an innovative ‘living’ book cover, which uses AR to ensure it continues to ‘live’. In doing so the project aims at taking the printed book form into the future.

How do QR codes work?

An example of using QR codes for the iPhone to watch YouTube videos.

Layar promo

A promo for Layar, worlds first AR browser.


A Dutch location-based social network.

Darkslide is an easy accessible mobile Flickr application for the iPhone and the iPod touch. It is built with the native iPhone SDK for performance, responsiveness and deep integration with iPhone OS.

Flickr Nearby

The Mobile Nearby application for the iPhone will figure out where the user is in the world and shows Flickr photos that have been taken in the same area.

Het Klokhuis on Google Earth
Dutch television show for primary school students Het Klokhuis (“apple core”) can be found on Google Earth and shows the locations where the shows have been recorded, linked to video fragments on YouTube.

Multi-user friendly AR application by Eneco

During the Wereldhavendag, Dutch energy company Eneco put into use an interactive multi-user AR application. There is a fair chance this is the first AR application to be multi-user friendly.

Treasure World

Treasure World is a mobile Nintendo DS game using Wi-Fi hotspots available around the world in order for the user to hunt for treasures.

3 Responses to “Mapping the field: location-based and mobile heritage in the Netherlands and beyond”

  1. Robby Godden Says:

    I must say, I enjoy this website. Maybe you could let me know how I can go about subscribing with it? By the way I stumbled upon this blog through Yahoo.

  2. Arjan den Boer Says:

    Some more suggestions:

    Dutch map applications:

    Dutch mobile applications/initiatives:
    Rijksmonumenten Layar

  3. Dieter van Werkum Says:

    Dutch educational Google Earth project about landscape paintings has a Wikitude app (for Iphone, Android and Symbian):

    (openarml is a KML extension, the OGC standard currently filing for ISO certification)

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